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The Evolution of Childbirth

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Kirstie Cockwell

on 17 May 2010

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Transcript of The Evolution of Childbirth

The Evolution of ChildBirth 1700's 1940's 1990's “Evolution doesn't have a direction,” Rosenberg says. “Knowing where we've been doesn't give us any help in where we're going. But it does help us understand what makes us human, as well as how we're connected to the natural world. ” 1970's It was not really until the 1970’s that fathers were allowed into birthing rooms, and at that time it was not so that they could help, they had to stand in the corner and just watch! The Government of British Columbia, Canada recognized midwives as a viable attendant for births in 1998.
Today Places People Hospital Home Birthing House Midwife Pain Relief Water Obstetrician A water birth is exactly as the name implies, giving birth in water. Shallow birthing pools are filled with warm water either at home, or in a hospital. The mother then sits up to her chest immersed in the water. There are several benefits to a water birth. First and foremost the water acts as a pain reliever and a relaxant all at once. The warmness of the water eases the contractions and supports the body. Water births have also been known to speed up labour; it has been found that one can become fully dilated within 2 hours of being submerged in the water. The final benefit to a water birth is that the water relaxes the muscles enough to prevent the chance of tearing while giving birth. (Mothersbliss.com) Water baths can be used at any stage in the labour. It can be used in the first stage to reduce pain caused by the contractions, or the baby can actually be born into the water bath itself. The baby is able to survive under the water for a short period of time because:
- the baby’s fetal breathing movements are slowed down by prostaglandin E2 levels by the placenta.
- water is hypotonic and the lung fluids are hypertonic, therefore the hypertonic solution is much denser and prevents the hypotonic solution from merging or coming into it’s presence.
- the instant the larynx senses the water, it will be relocated by the closing of the glottis, causing the water to be swallowed, instead of inhaled.
(Waterbirth International) The water is kept between 95-100 degrees Fahrenheit. (Waterbirth International)

The cost of water birthing equipment and delivery is around $375. (Waterbirth International) Cesarean A caesarean operation is when babies are delivered by an operation which involves cutting through the abdomen and the womb to lift out the baby. A caesarean is preferably carried out under epidural anaesthetic. However, in the case of an emergency, a general anaesthetic may be given. The incision is made just below the bikini line and is almost invisible once it heals. The entire operation takes about half an hour, of which 20 minutes is spent stitching.
There are 2 types of caesarean:
Elective Caesarean; the delivery is planned before going into labour, and may be recommended by the doctor if it is dangerous for the birth to occur naturally.
Emergency Caesarean; required if complications occur during the vaginal birth and the baby needs to be removed immediately. Downfalls are:

- you must remain in the hospital for 5-6 days after the operation

- avoidance of straining and lifting heavy objects for at least six weeks must occur

- you are not allowed to drive a car for six weeks after the operation

- you will be unable to lift your newborn for the first little while More recently renovated hospitals have 2 different options for birthing rooms. There is your standard sterile, bright white lights, shiny operating room. Equipped with hospital bed, blue sheets and a tiny bathroom. These rooms have remained relatively unchanged throughout the last 20 years.
Another more recent room is the ‘quiet’ room. These rooms are often dimly lit and incorporate a variety of different birthing techniques. Many of them have large exercise balls, larger and softer beds, dim lights and curtained windows, and some even contain birthing pools. Recent studies have shown that babies born into the much quieter and dimmer rooms end up being happier and healthier as children. Studies have just recently begun, so only continued studies will reveal whether these qualities remain throughout the remainder of their lives. Many parents also enjoy this atmosphere as it is less busy and much softer. It calms the mother and allows her to try different positions during childbirth. Studies have also revealed lower postpartum depression rates in mothers who give birth in such rooms. Natural Births There are several different types of births which can happen at a hospital. There are natural births which occur, high-tech births and caesarean sections, to name a few. This is a labour and birth which occurs without any medical procedures or intervention. The natural rhythm of labour occurs, without pain relievers. Relaxation and breathing techniques are used by mothers performing a natural birth. High-Tech Birth This is when labour is controlled by medical methods like induction, adequate pain relief, episiotomy, etc. The complete opposite of natural birth. Many drugs are introduced into the patient during this form of birth. The first birthing house was opened in 1974 in an effort to allow women to give birth in a much more relaxed setting. Midwives are generally the health care providers in these facilities, although some obstetricians will perform the occasional birth. The benefit to a birthing house is the freedom in making your own decisions about labour, as they have fewer restrictions and guidelines. Most births which occur in birth houses are low risk, and for women who are seeking few interventions during labour. (American Pregnancy, 2007)
Natural Vs. Artificial There are 3 types of pain relief during pregnancy:

Local Anesthesia
numbs painful area during delivery, or is used after delivery if stitches are needed
does not reduce discomfort during labour

Regional Anesthesia (epidural or spinal)
used during labour to reduce discomfort
administered by needle close to the spinal cord (spinal) or inside the spinal column (epidural)
decreased blood pressure
mild itching during labour
headaches are often present
makes both the mother and the baby sleepy

General Anesthesia
puts you to sleep during the birthing process
you are unable to see your child immediately after birth

Many mother's in today's society are choosing to have their children at home. The major reasoning behind this is being in a more natural environment. The familiarity of the surroundings relaxes the mother, allowing her to focus more of her energy on having her child. Birthing at home also has the benefit of not having to travel during labour, and no nights spent away from home in the hospital. to be said:
doctor's have advised that hospitals are the safest place for all labouring women, but there is little evidence to support this view. During water birth,
24% of first time mothers used pain relieving drugs
compared to non-water births where
50% of first time mothers used pain relieving drugs it has been found to stimulate labour and to be an effective form of pain relief
evidence has also suggested that it can cut the length of labour by 2 hours
no adverse effects, unlike drug-induced induction
women who use accupunture report feeling calm, having a sense of well being and the feeling of being in control of their labour and delivery Accupuncture Herbs Fresh ginger tea, sweetened with a little honey and lemon
Aconite • Or you can try counted breathing. As you breathe in, count slowly up to three or four (or whatever number seems comfortable for you) and as you breathe out, count to three or four again. You might find that it's more comfortable to breathe in to a count of three and out to a count of four. maximizes the amount of oxygen available to the mother and baby
helps to cope with pain of contractions
mother remains in a relaxed state and responds more positively to pain
Lamaze's Approach to Birth
Birth is normal, natural and healthy.
The experience of birth profoundly affects women and their families.
Women's inner wisdom guides them through birth.
Women's confidence and ability to give birth is either enhanced or diminished by the care provider and place of birth.
Women have the right to give birth free from routine medical interventions.
Birth can safely take place in homes, birth centers and hospitals.
Childbirth education empowers women to make informed choices in health care, to assume responsibility for their health and to trust their inner wisdom. Your Turn,
Even if you won't ever be in labour. Late 1800's Early 1900's 1950's Forcepts were invented and used regularily by Doctors 1847
washing hands with chlorinated water first begam
James Simpson uses diethyl ether
chloroform was used by Queen Victoria 1890
rubber gloves were invented for use at the Johns Hopkins Hospital 1898
the first epidural was administered 1901
Wilhelm Rontgen was awarded the nobel prize for using x-rays on pregnant women 1910
midwives attended half of all births 1920's
Doctors wrote to popular magazines blaming midwives for birthing incidents and training was abolished in an attempt to make midwives "go away" 1930
15% of births attended by midwives 1938
50% of births in hospitals Lamaze classes begin to take shape 1945
99% of births in hospitals 1958
ultrasound machines are developed and used regularily by doctors 1973
abortion becomes leagalized
midvives attend 1% of births 1989-1992
a study reveals that home births are just as safe, if not safer then hospital births -health-care providers with a wide spectrum if training
-certified nurse-midwives (have nursing degree plus additional training) or direct-entry midwives ( extensive training in midwifery
-offer care that is flexible and individualized with little medical intervention
- care for low risk pregnancies
-offer deliveries in homes, birthing centers or hospitals Obstetrician
-medical doctors specialized in the management of pregnancy, labour and birth
-education focuses on the detection and management of obstetrical and gynecological problems
-normally do deliveries in a hospital setting

Family Practitioner
-completed school in various fields of medicine
-treat the whole family
-usually handle low risk pregnancies
-do deliveries in hospitals Works Cited
“Birthing Choices: Health Care Providers & Birth.” American Pregnancy Association, November 2007. Web. 19 April 2010.

Cassidy, Tina. “Birth.” New York: Atlantic Monthly Press, 2006. Print.

Greene, Elena. “Pregnancy and Childbirth for the Historical Author.” Web. 31 April 2010.

Irving, John. “The Cider House Rules.” New York: William Morrow and Company, Inc., 1985. Print.

“Lamaze’s Approach to Birth.” Lamaze International. Web. 23 April 2010.

McKay, Ami. “The Birth House.” Toronto: Alfred A. Knopf Canada, 2006. Print.

“Nine Months: Birthing Choices.” Mothersbliss.com. Web. 31 April 2010.

“Pregnancy: Pain Relief Options for Childbirth.” MedicineNet.com. Web. 31 April 2010.

Thomas, Pat. “Alternative Therapies for Pregnancy and Birth.” Boston: Element Books, 2000. Print.

Wertz, Richard W. And Dorothy C. Wertz. “Lying-In: A History of Childbirth in America.” London: Yale University Press, 1989. Print.
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